It’s been an interesting preseason for Detroit, who has opened up their locker room for HBO’s Hard Knocks. People love the intensity of coach Dan Campbell and now his squad tries to end the exhibition on a winning note in the preseason Lions at Steelers contest.
Detroit is 1-1 this preseason, losing to the Falcons 27-23 and then getting a win in Indianapolis last weekend 27-26. Pittsburgh tries to close out the exhibition at 3-0, and their QB depth gives them a huge advantage as -6.5 favorites in Sunday afternoon’s matchup.
No Goff for Detroit
Jared Goff is entering his second year in Detroit, but the coaching staff seems comfortable in his 3/4 47 yard performance in the exhibition opener against Atlanta being enough prep for the regular season. Campbell has announced that Goff will not play in the preseason Lions at Steelers matchup although he said that other starters will.
With Goff out, the QB reins go to the duo of David Blough and Tim Boyle. They don’t sound like the most impressive combo on paper, but the Lions are averaging 25 ppg this preseason. Blough is 34/50 with a TD in the exhibition while Boyle has thrown for two scores.
What Detroit would really like to see on Sunday is the shoring up of a defense that has allowed 26.5 ppg this preseason. The Falcons ran for 168 yards in the preseason opener against the Lions, but that unit was much better last week in holding the Colts to 30 yards on the ground. Indianapolis backup QB Sam Ehlinger was also 9/11 for 2 TDs which isn’t a good stat line going up against a trio of solid signal callers from Pittsburgh.
Steelers Offense the Difference Maker
When you send QBs like Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph, who have NFL starting experience, as well as highly touted rookie Kenny Pickett it’s no surprise that the Steelers come into Sunday’s game 2-0. It is somewhat interesting that Pittsburgh only beat Jacksonville 16-15 last week, but there should be a whole lot more points put on the board against the Lions (O/U just 39.5).
One big reason to like Pittsburgh to cover the -6.5 in the preseason finale is because coach Mike Tomlin has yet to name a starter for the opener. Rudolph would presumably be out of the running, but Tomlin and offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner want to see what Trubisky and the 1st rounder Pickett can do one last time as they try to find a successor for the retired Ben Roethlisberger.
Pickett has been very efficient this preseason going 19/22 with 3 TDs, but Trubisky also has NFL starting experience during his time with the Bears. Even Rudolph has had a solid exhibition going 26/36 with 2 TDs and 0 INT so the Steelers brass truly has some tough decisions looming.
Free Preseason Lions at Steelers Betting Pick
With Detroit not playing Goff and the Steelers having to decide on a very legitimate QB controversy the Steelers -6.5 is the only way to go in this one. Pittsburgh just has a very different goal for this game and being at home doesn’t hurt either.
Free Pick: Steelers -6.5